Policy Plate: Crop Insurance Reform Amendments Introduced
Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., introduced amendments today that would save taxpayers billions of dollars and take important steps toward reforming the heavily subsidized federal crop insurance program.
The Coburn-Durbin amendment would reduce premium subsidies by 15 percent for farm businesses with adjusted gross incomes of more than $750,000. It would save about $1.2 billion over 10 years.
The Shaheen-Toomey amendment would place a $40,000 cap on the amount an individual can receive in premium subsidies each year. It would save about $5.2 billion over 10 years.
“The federal government cannot justify providing extraordinarily costly subsidies to the most profitable and financially secure farm businesses that can easily afford to share more of the cost of their crop insurance,” said EWG’s senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources Craig Cox.
Environment &Energy has a wrap up (subscription required) of all of the amendments that have been introduced on the Senate floor so far.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., gave a passionate floor speech on her farm bill amendment that would restore cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) by cutting profits to crop insurance companies. You can watch it here.
DTN published a piece that mentions the open letter to Congress that was signed by 70 food and health luminaries and sent to Capitol Hill this week. It notes the crop insurance “safety net” was described in the letter as "an extravagant entitlement for affluent landowners and insurance companies.”
The New York Times’ Ron Nixon has a piece today on crop insurance and how the government continues to bail out big agribusinesses that don’t need the help.
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